Introducing Interview: Law Holt

Lauren Holt, aka Law Holt, has been singing since she was 16, but it was only in 2013 that she started songwriting. Debut offering ‘Hustle’, written alongside Young Fathers’ production team, soon lead to Holt receiving acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, Clash and Time Out,

After an accident that nearly cost her her sight, Holt is now back to creating her beguiling style of music, set to release a new album next month. We caught up with her to find out more…

When did you first realise you wanted to make music?
After my after-school gig selling weave and relaxer in a Leicester hair shop this seemed like it was the best job going. I made my voice my meal-ticket and my way out of the East Midlands. It’s my trade.

How did you meet Young Fathers and tell us how you’ve collaborated with them?
We met in a charity shop in Leith. It was a Salvation Army store frequented by price-hagglers, dreamers, addicts and lost souls. Most of them were baffled at our shops’ music choices but I don’t care what anybody says, ‘Thong Song’ is a tune. From there YFs and I went into the studio together. Then we were sharing a stage and a touring van. Our collaboration is based on unwavering principle.

 Press find it hard pinning down your sound – how would you describe it?
That’s how I like it. I am a mixed-raced woman who has never fitted in on either side so neither does my music. It’s a healthy confusion. Most journalists will resort to lazy descriptors. It’s “x crossed with y or “so-and-so on acid.” How disheartening. So I suppose one job of great art is to keep the critics notepads blank. Why would you want to peak behind the curtain?

What are your musical influences?
Anything hypnotic. That can be the many voices of Tom Waits. Thelonious Monk grunting over his solo recordings. Those 9 minute tracks at the end of each Doors LP. “Weather Report” by The Tennors. Basil Kirchin. Women like Bessie Smith whose voices emanate from their gut. And anything arranged by Rev. James Cleveland. And Broadcast, everything by Broadcast.

Your album City is out in August – what are the themes running through the album?
Loneliness in the midst of millions. But there is no single theme because every possible human emotion is displayed in the city on any given day. The LP is only my portion of that.

If you could jettison one of your songs along with a message into space, for some distant race to hear, what song would you choose and what would the message be?
We should leave space alone. We’ve mashed-up our planet enough as it is. If you want to go to space then listen to Herbie or Sun Ra. Space travel is just another expression of our colonial impulse. It’s none of our fucking business.

 Finally, one sentence on your headstone – what would it be?
Nothing. I have other plans.

Huge thanks to Law Holt for answering our questions! 

City, the upcoming album from Law Holt, is out in August.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.